The Coast News Group
Leucadia Streetscape
Courtesy photo/City of Encinitas

Encinitas seeking bids for Leucadia Streetscape project

ENCINITAS — In its Aug. 26 meeting, the Encinitas City Council unanimously approved construction plans for the first phase of the Leucadia Streetscape project and authorized advertisement for construction bids.

The Leucadia Streetscape Project includes a number of improvements aimed at preserving and revitalizing 2.5 miles of North Coast Highway 101.

The approval comes after nearly a decade of work by city staff and engagement with the community to create a plan that makes it easier and safer for community members to get to the beach and enjoy shops and restaurants on Coast Highway 101, whether in a car, on a bike or on foot.

This decision follows the City Council’s Aug. 12 approval of construction for the El Portal Undercrossing Project, a new grade-separated railroad undercrossing for bicycles and pedestrians, east of Coast Highway 101 at El Portal Street.

The undercrossing will provide residents living east of the tracks with quick and easy access to the beach and the business corridor.

The city is partnering with the San Diego Association of Governments to deliver this project. SANDAG will serve as the construction manager, overseeing all aspects of construction, project schedule, and public outreach.

“We are very excited to reach this important milestone for the Leucadia Streetscape project. With this approval and approval of El Portal earlier this month, we are one step closer to bringing the community’s vision for this area to life,” said Lillian Doherty, Encinitas development services director. “Projects like Leucadia Streetscape don’t come along often. This is our opportunity to celebrate and showcase the city’s arts and culture, history, community charm and character through re-establishing the historic tree canopy and providing gathering spaces for our residents.”

The project is being constructed in phases, given fiscal challenges and uncertainty related to COVID-19. The city will start construction on the first phase of improvements on Coast Highway 101 between Marcheta Street (to the south) and Basil Street (to the north).

The initial project improvements in Phase 1 include:

  • Roundabout on Coast Highway 101 at El Portal
  • Connection to the El Portal Undercrossing, which will begin construction in late 2020.
  • New bike lanes and wider sidewalks
  • Street lighting
  • Spaces to sit and gather
  • Improved crosswalks
  • Restoration of historic tree canopy (nearly 100 news trees planted)
  • Enhanced landscaping
  • New stormwater treatment through biofiltration
  • Better access for businesses
  • Enhanced bus stops on Coast Highway 101

“This is an exciting day for the Leucadia 101 Main Street Association. We’re thrilled to see Leucadia Streetscape moving forward, said Annika Walden, executive director of Leucadia 101 Mainstreet Association. “The project truly embodies our mission as an organization, with its focus on preserving our coastal charm and small-town feel, creating a unique atmosphere for our residents and businesses to thrive, and cultivating strong partnerships and community engagement.”

Project Budget

The Leucadia Streetscape Project budget for Phase 1 is $7,700,000. Funding for Phase 1 has been provided by the city’s general fund. Early in 2021, an additional small project will begin to provide crosswalks with flashing lights for pedestrian safety on Coast Highway 101 at North Court and at Diana Street. Given the fiscal challenges and uncertainty related to COVID-19, funding for future phases of the Leucadia Streetscape Project has not been identified. The City intends to analyze potential funding strategies in future budget cycles.

 What’s Next?

The city anticipates awarding the construction contract and issuing a Notice to Proceed for construction of Phase 1 in September 2020 and October 2020, respectively. Following the contract award and issue of the Notice to Proceed, the construction contractor will develop a construction schedule.

The schedule will provide details about the work and anticipated impacts to the community. The construction is expected to start in Winter 2020/2021. Project construction is anticipated to be complete in early 2022.

Public Outreach

Once the construction schedule is known, the city and the contractor will begin outreach efforts in the community, to inform residents and businesses about the project and potential construction impacts. The community can stay informed about the project by visiting the project webpage for construction updates or emailing questions to [email protected].